Ex-wife should pay you child support


            Posted on May 14,2006   

            Ex-wife should pay you child support

Q.  I got divorced 14 years ago. Since then, my daughter, Sue, now 18, has been living with her mother. My ex-wife remarried and is now moving out of state with her husband. In the fall, Sue starts going to a nearby two-year college. My ex wants Sue to live half-time with me and half-time with my ex-wife's sister, Ginny.

But, Ginny and Sue don't get along. I've been involved in Sue's life all along, seeing her regularly, including full weekends, vacations, etc. Sue says she wants to live only with me. All these years I paid my ex-wife $200 a week child support, plus Sue's health insurance. My ex wants me to pay the $200 a week to Ginny for Sue's food and rent, plus continue the health insurance; plus pay all college expenses.

I feel like I'm under the gun. What should I do?

NS, Hyannis


A.    Here is what you need to do "” right away. File a complaint for modification of the divorce judgment, asking to stop all child support as soon as your ex moves out of state (when Sue moves in with you and to order your ex-wife to pay you child support and help pay Sue's college expenses.

If your ex has already moved, then immediately file a motion for a temporary order to stop your payments and get her paying child support to you.

When you file for modification, ask for a summons to serve on your ex-wife wherever she lives now. Use a constable or deputy sheriff to serve her"� with the complaint, summons and motion. Ask the court for the earliest date your motion can be heard. Also ask that your payments be stopped retroactively to the earliest of the dates you filed your complaint or the date she moved.

You don't have to ask for a change of custody because once Sue reached age 18, the court lost all power to decide where and with whom she must live. So, Sue can just move in with you.

In Massachusetts, support for a child over 18 can only be ordered if a) the needs it, as Sue does because she's going to college; and b) the child is residing with a parent (aunts, grandparents, etc. don't qualify). If Sue moves into your home, you are probably going to win and get child support from your ex because both parents have a legal obligation to support their children.

Your ex's move out of state and Sue's moving in with you and starting college are each substantial changes. So, you should get relief when the court hears your motion for temporary orders.

In any event, ask for a speedy trial so the orders will become permanent as soon as possible. Of course, the judge might not make any change until a trial, which is why you want to get going now.